Manchester City 1-3 Bayern Munich: Bayern dominate midfield through numbers & pressing

October 2, 2013
Manchester City 1-3 Bayern Munich: Bayern dominate midfield through numbers & pressing

Bayern Munich completely outplayed Manchester City for the vast majority of this contest.

Manuel Pellegrini somewhat surprisingly decided to use Micah Richards rather than Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, while Gael Clichy returned at left-back. David Silva was only considered fit enough for the bench – so it was Pellegrini’s usual midfield and attack.

Pep Guardiola named Thomas Muller as his main striker, with Mario Mandzukic only on the bench.

Bayern were superior to a staggering extent here, only force to withstand heavy pressure in the final 15 minutes. Read more »

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Arsenal win the game early by attacking down the right flank

October 1, 2013
Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Arsenal win the game early by attacking down the right flank

Arsene Wenger fielded five natural central midfielders, but Napoli were opened up repeatedly in their left-back zone.

Wenger was without a variety of players comfortable in wide roles – Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – while Jack Wilshere was rested, with Mikel Arteta coming into the side and Arsenal’s three attacking midfielders playing fluid roles.

Rafael Benitez was still without Christian Maggio, and also lost Gonzalo Higuain through injury.

Arsenal were dominant from the first whistle, and Napoli rarely offered a goal threat. Read more »

Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea: Spurs play neat passing combinations but fail to adjust defensive line

September 30, 2013
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea: Spurs play neat passing combinations but fail to adjust defensive line

A fair result at White Hart Lane as Andre Villas-Boas’ starting strategy proved successful, but Jose Mourinho’s in-game changes worked better.

Villas-Boas named roughly Spurs’ expected side – Kyle Naughton continued at left-back, while Andros Townsend continues to keep out Erik Lamela.

Mourinho named Ramires on the right of, the first time he’s played that way. John Obi Mikel started in midfield and Fernando Torres got the nod upfront.

This was a game of two halves – Spurs dominated the first, Chelsea the second. Read more »

Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa leads the line superbly in excellent Atleti display

September 30, 2013
Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa leads the line superbly in excellent Atleti display

Atletico Madrid went ahead early at the Bernabeu, and then created much better chances.

Carlo Ancelotti felt Gareth Bale wasn’t ready to make his first home start, instead using Angel Di Maria on the right. Asier Illaramendi partnered Sami Khedira in the centre.

Diego Simeone has rotated his midfield well this season – here Raul Garcia and Mario Suarez missed out.

Real dominated possession but Atletico always seemed comfortable, protecting their back four excellently and creating a succession of fine chances at the other end. Read more »

PSG 1-1 Monaco: PSG create better chances

September 26, 2013
PSG 1-1 Monaco: PSG create better chances

Ligue 1’s new ‘big two’ played out a reasonably entertaining 1-1 draw.

Laurent Blanc made three changes – Marquinhos made his first league starts in place of Alex, while in the wide positions Hervin Ongenda and Lucas Moura made way for the returning ex-Napoli duo of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani.

Claudio Ranieri named an unchanged side – Jeremy Toulalan was still out injured, while James Rodriguez continued on the bench.

The start of this contest was cautious, but as the tempo dropped PSG’s creative players saw more of the ball. Read more »

Man City 4-1 Man United: Nasri’s narrowness and Kolarov’s overlapping put City in charge

September 22, 2013
Man City 4-1 Man United: Nasri’s narrowness and Kolarov’s overlapping put City in charge

Manchester City dominated from the opening moments, and completely outplayed Manchester United..

Manuel Pellegrini named Alvaro Negredo rather than Edin Dzeko upfront, the first time the Spaniard has started alongside Sergio Aguero. Down the left, Gael Clichy and David Silva were out, so Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri played.

David Moyes was without Robin van Persie, who was out injured with a thigh strain – so Danny Welbeck partnered Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young played on the left.

City played better in almost every respect, but it was down the left where they really excelled and took command of the game. Read more »